Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Plans for council’s district heating scheme warm up

An ambitious project to use Leeds’ rubbish to help heat homes and businesses using the new incinerator being developed in the city could be about to take a step forward.

The Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) currently being constructed at Cross Green is designed to generate enough electricity to power over 22,000 homes. Now broad plans are being developed to also harness the heat produced while processing waste and pipe it to homes, businesses and other developments.

The RERF will begin accepting council waste in early 2016 and operators Veolia have now asked Leeds City Council if they can extend the life of their lease of the site to run the facility for a further 15 years beyond the expiry of the current 25 year PFI contract.

Securing heat generation for the extended 40 year period would be a major catalyst in achieving the council’s ambitions to make the most of opportunities to heat entire districts with environmentally-friendly schemes.

The first part of the three-phase project will look at supplying heat from the RERF to a number of council-owned tower blocks and operational buildings, as well as public and private sector commercial buildings and to significant development sites in the city centre.

More than 2,000 flats in parts of the city where fuel poverty is most prevalent could have their heat supplied direct during the first phase of the scheme. This phase would build the foundations for a wider district heating network that can be developed in the future and also create confidence in the principle of heat networks and possible further schemes.

Councillors will be asked to examine the proposals at their executive board meeting on September 17 and officers recommend they agree to the lease extension. They will hear how extending the Veolia lease by 15 years would also result in major savings of around £2million a year in the council’s waste treatment PFI contract. All current legislative and environmental controls would remain and be enforced.

Further major savings of around £1.7m a year could be realised if councillors also agree to a proposal to make a major capital contribution to the plant’s development. This is because much more favourable rates are available for public sector borrowing than those that would be obtainable for Veolia.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, said:“This is a very exciting development since it enables us to advance work on our ambitious district heating plans. Extending the lease and making a capital contribution also allows us to save significant amounts of council taxpayers’ cash- around £3.7m a year- over the length of the contract.

“Our district heating network could make a real difference in our efforts to tackle fuel poverty by reducing energy bills for vulnerable residents by around 10% and will help towards our target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% between 2005- 2020. It would also create construction and maintenance jobs and could stimulate further investment in the city.”

Paul Fowler, general manager of Veolia, said:“The Leeds Waste Management PFI will enable the city council to make significant savings over the life of the contract and will make a valuable contribution to the level of recycling across the city.

“These new proposals for a district heat network and an adaption to the existing PFI contract will enable us to deliver even greater value for money to the city council and provide the foundations for developing much needed energy infrastructure in the Leeds area.”

Other potential benefits to the council of extending the Veolia lease include broadening its options over disposal of the city’s black bin waste following the original contract expiry date. A 40-year agreement would also mean that it would become Veolia’s responsibility and not the council’s to decommission the facility, along with the associated costs, at the appropriate time.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk


Grand Futures Leeds – Creative opportunities for thousands of young people.


Caption: Councillor Lucinda Yeadon with long-time supporter of Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, Dr Keith Howard.

Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House has announced an ambitious three year learning programme.

Grand Futures Leeds supported by the Emerald Foundation, will open up Leeds Grand Theatre and the City Varieties Music Hall to thousands of young people from across the city.

The scheme will enable children and young people, individually or through schools, colleges, universities and community groups to be creative, to get hands-on experience producing performances, festivals and other events; and to voice their experiences of life in Leeds through two of the city’s oldest cultural institutions. The programme aims to give young people new skills and to invite a fresh creative response to the city’s heritage.

Grand Futures Leeds takes place from 2014-2017 and will include:

• The development of a major new youth-led arts Festival in 2015 ‘Grand Quarter Festival’ – in which young people will plan, produce, commission, promote and manage the Festival events.

• Growth of the Grand Futures Leeds Arts Partnership Network working with Leeds arts organisations to establish a new model arts academy and city-wide apprenticeship programme. Eight one-year apprenticeships and ten internships have already received supported from the Creative Employment Programme and the city’s Apprenticeship Hub.

• Increased training opportunities at Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House including three year-long funded apprenticeships and work experience placements for secondary school children and students.

• Pop-Up Shop for youth-led exhibitions and creative-enterprise ideas to be tested at 42 New Briggate – starting with the ‘Theatres at War’ exhibition on 8th and 14th September.

• A year-round programme of participation including backstage tours, artist-led sessions for pre-school age children and the City Varieties Youth Theatre.

• Development of the annual Child Friendly Leeds awards held at City Varieties Music Hall – to enable young people to manage and lead the event.

Grand Futures Leeds is designed to complement and support the work of the city’s arts and cultural offer, working with artists and institutions to create better, affordable and new opportunities for young people to develop their skills and talents.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Chair of Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House said:

“Grand Futures Leeds represents our commitment to creating new opportunities for young people in Leeds, to benefit from increased access to learning, and to be inspired by spectacular buildings like Leeds Grand Theatre.

"For all of us in Leeds, this is a chance to benefit from a fresh wave of creative ideas.”

Grand Futures Leeds is supported with funding from the Emerald Foundation through benefactor and long-time supporter of Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, Dr Keith Howard.

Dr Keith Howard of the Emerald Foundation said:

“Grand Futures Leeds is a chance for us to seriously invest in young performers, technicians, designers, directors and administrators of the future. Learning opportunities are vital to progress, and I’m delighted to help Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House to involve more young people in influencing the city’s artistic and creative life. I’m also excited to see how they respond to the rich history of the spaces they’ll be using.”

For more information about Grand Futures Leeds, to attend the launch or for interviews and images please contact Fran Graham: Tel 07815 790189. Email fran@spaceacademy.co.uk

Anyone interested in arts careers can also email poppy.raynor@leedsgrandtheatre.com


Editors Notes

Grand Futures Leeds is a learning programme managed by Rachel Lythe and based at Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House www.leedsgrandtheatre.com and City Varieties Music Hall www.cityvarieties.co.uk

1. The next opportunity for young people to join in is Heritage Open Day on 14 September, when both City Varieties and Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House are open 10.30am-4.00pm for free craft activities, creative workshops, demonstrations and talks.

2. On 8th September and Heritage Open Day 14th September, Grand Futures Leeds will host a ‘Theatres at War’ public exhibition exploring the life of the theatre during the First World War, written and curated by two MA students, Emily Sykes and Laura Swithenbank, in partnership with the Legacies of War Project at the University of Leeds.

3. The Emerald Foundation is a charity that supports arts and cultural programmes, set up by the Emerald Group, publishers of academic and educational books and journals for global markets and based in Bingley. www.emeraldfoundation.org.uk/

4. The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.

Leeds Core Strategy ‘masterplan’ ready for final approval

Two major planning proposals which will underpin all future development and growth in Leeds are set to be put before the city’s councillors for their final approval.

The Core Strategy, which will provide a 15-year masterplan for all housing growth and development in the city, and the introduction of a new Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board next week (Wednesday 17 September) at Civic Hall.

If the executive board gives its approval, the proposals will then be referred to November’s meeting of the full council where they will be voted on being officially adopted by the city. Both proposals have been developed following an extensive consultation process with the public and all stakeholders, with the final preparation stage being analysis and approval from a Government-appointed inspector and examiner, which has now been received.

If adopted, the Core Strategy, which has been developed in several stages since 2006, would become the principal planning and development guide for the entire Leeds district.

Its core principles now approved by the Government inspector Mr Anthony Thickett are:

- Providing 70,000 new homes in the Leeds district up to 2028, at an agreed rate of 3,660 a year in the initial years
- Within that 70,000 is a commitment to a significant proportion of new affordable housing
- A strong focus on building on brownfield sites in order to promote regeneration and protect the greenbelt
- Fairness across the city, in terms of all parts of the city accepting some new housing
- Where possible to bring long-term empty homes back into use
- Respecting and retaining community identities and character, rejecting possible suburban sprawl
- Infrastructure of services around new developments, such as schools and health services to be carried out in a manageable and sustainable way
- Supporting regeneration and environmental enhancement

Should approval for the Core Strategy be given at both executive board and then full council in November, it would be adopted and brought into force immediately.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“This is a highly significant step towards making Leeds the best city to live and work in the UK. I am delighted that the Core Strategy can now be taken to executive board and full council for a vote on its adoption.

“The strategy will make a massive difference as it will provide a modern forward-thinking blueprint for all future growth in terms of housing, job creation, development and the economy in a sustainable way. It has taken a long time to get to this point involving a lot of people and a lot of hard work, but it needed to be done right and it’s great that we are now almost there.”

Fitting within the Core Strategy framework, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be introduced from April 2015 as a new way of collecting contributions from developers for infrastructure facilities such as transport, education, the Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme or greenspace. It has been driven by changes to the existing Section 106 regulations which come into force in April.

Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel Councillor Peter Gruen said:

“The Core Strategy represents our ambitions for Leeds right through to 2028. At each stage of its development, the Core Strategy has been the subject of extensive consultations and it has been illuminating to hear from so many different views. This has led us to the position where we are close to having an adopted strategy - a real achievement for Leeds.

“As with the Core Strategy, it has been vitally important that we get the Community Infrastructure Levy right with charging levels appropriate to attract investors but also to help us pay for vital infrastructure improvements in Leeds.

“We are pleased the examiner supported what we are proposing and that we can now take the plan on for full council to decide on. Together these two proposals will offer a strong lead for all future development across Leeds.”

Consultation on the Core Strategy has taken place with the public, councillors, developers and representatives of the construction industries, community groups, parish councils, Leeds Civic Trust, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, the Environment Agency, the Highways Agency and neighbouring local authorities in the wider Leeds City Region.

The Community Infrastructure Levy for Leeds, including a draft charging schedule with rates varying depending on the type of development being proposed and the area of the city it is proposed in, has similarly been developed after consultation with all key stakeholders and the public.

The final version of the CIL policy, including the charging schedule and list of projects or types of infrastructure which the levy could be used for, is now ready for approval after also being assessed by Mr Thickett.

For more information on the Core Strategy and Community Infrastructure Levy including the inspector and examiner’s reports visit www.leeds.gov.uk


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds in contention for top Britain in Bloom prize

Caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr David Congreve, Britain in Bloom judges Kim Parish and Sue Wood, Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa gardener Keith Boyes and Cllr Mark Dobson.

The fantastic efforts of green fingered residents across the city have been recognised by Leeds being shortlisted for a prestigious environmental prize.

Se to be held on October 16 in Bristol, Leeds will battle it out with Sunderland and the London borough of Hillingdon in the ‘Large City’ category of the Britain in Bloom awards, which through a range of categories, recognises those communities, villages, towns and cities across the UK that have transformed green spaces in their area. Also flying the flag with great pride for Leeds this year is Kippax in Bloom, who feature in the Urban Communities category.

In 2012, Leeds secured a gold award in the Large City category but was pipped to the post by this year’s contender Sunderland, while last year, Barwick in Elmet secured a gold award in the ‘Large Village’ group and Garforth, making their first appearance ever at Britain in Bloom, earned a Silver Gilt in the ‘Town’ category. Former Leeds City Council Director of Parks John Tinker was also recognised for his fantastic contribution to the Barwick in Bloom group by a Community Champion.

Leeds has a thriving in bloom network with over 50 groups in communities across the city that contributes to over 1300 floral displays. Last year, as part of Yorkshire in Bloom, Leeds was named as the winner of the ‘Large City’ category, and was also awarded The Yorkshire Rose Chairman’s award which recognises a community that has made outstanding efforts to promote all aspects of the different ‘in bloom’ campaigns.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for cleaner, safer and stronger communities said:

"It is really brilliant news that the hard work of our in bloom groups, council staff and partner organisations has been recognised by Leeds being shortlisted in the Britain in Bloom awards Large City category.

"Also featuring in the awards is Kippax in Bloom who are included in the Urban Communities category, and we certainly wish them also the very best of luck.

"The passion and dedication of our in bloom groups continues to astounds me, and I would thank every single person for their continued efforts and commitment which are simply superb."

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Don’t miss out on the ‘Dressed for Battle’ exhibition at Lotherton Hall

Caption: A 2012 Alexander McQueen coat is on display as part of the Dressed for Battle exhibition.

Time is running out to view a fantastic costume exhibition at one of the city’s most popular and historic houses.

As part of the ‘Dressed for Battle’ display at Lotherton Hall which is set to close on September 28, visitors can view a wide range of fashions that have both inspired and influenced the style of dress worn at home and abroad during wartime. Included in the collection are items dating from the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815) up to the present day, which include an Alexander McQueen coat from his Autumn/Winter 2012 collection.

The closing of the exhibition will mark the beginning of an exciting refurbishment programme at Lotherton Hall that when completed, will make the house a major museum of fashion and textiles. The redevelopment will create an up to date 21st century gallery space; with modern cases, improved lighting and the chance to utilise technology, which will allow opportunities to include new elements like film and sound in the galleries.

As part of the planned work a new lift will also be installed so visitors can have full access to the much loved country house as well as the exciting modern exhibition spaces. The new Fashion Galleries are set to launch in March 2015, with the debut exhibition Age of Glamour showcasing fifties fashions and the rise of department stores.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"The Dressed for Battle exhibition at Lotherton Hall has proved to be extremely popular with visitors, and the great news is that there is still time to see the collection before it closes on September 28.

"A wide range of items from different centuries are on display, and the exhibition provides an interesting insight into how fashion has both changed and being influenced during wartime.

"While it will be sad to see Dressed for Battle close, it will mean that a refurbishment and revamp of our fashion galleries can begin, which is very exciting. A range of work is set to be undertaken and we can’t wait to see the final results when the new fashion galleries open in March 2015."

Notes to editors:

Lotherton Hall:
Lotherton Hall Estate is a charming Edwardian house and country estate. A single entrance price allows access to the house, with its wonderful collections of fine and decorative arts and a dedicated fashion gallery, and extensive grounds with an abundance of activities to keep everyone busy. Lotherton Hall has undergone numerous changes over the last few years since becoming one whole visitor attraction. With this new and larger audience the house has adapted by improving access and introducing a new range of family-friendly facilities. Lotherton Hall has been displaying fashion since its early days of being a museum in 1968, showing fine examples of both historic and more contemporary fashions.

This redevelopment has been possible thanks to funding awarded from the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. Lotherton Hall is also supported by Arts Council England Major Partner Museum funding as part of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Address: Lotherton Lane, Aberford, Leeds, LS25 3EB
Tel: 0113 378 2959
Email: lotherton.hall@leeds.gov.uk
Web address: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonhall
See our member’s page for year round entry: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonmembers

Summer opening times (March to October) house, café, shop and bird garden: 10:00 to 17:00 with last entry at 16:15. Estate gates: 07:30 to 20:00.
Winter opening times (November to February) house, café, shop and bird garden: 10:00 to 16:00 with last entry at 15:15. Estate gates: 08:00 to 18:00.
Please note from November 2014 to mid-March 2015 the house will have limited opening due to the refurbishment work, please check the website before you visit for the latest details.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Suicide Prevention Day focus for council

Leeds councillors will be among those marking World Suicide Prevention Day in the city on 10th September. A deputation to the council by people bereaved by suicide will highlight Leeds City Council’s commitment of over £200k to the development of support groups for people bereaved by suicide.

Councillor Fiona Venner, who is also the Director of mental health charity Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, said:

“A suicide is not like any other death. We know the statistics highlight the risks, but every suicide is an individual tragedy for the person who believed they had no other option and the friends and family who loved them. There is support available which can make a huge difference and prevent suicide. There’s also support for people bereaved by suicide. We want to raise people’s awareness of the help out there and the things you can do if you need help yourself or you know someone else who does.”

Leeds City Council funds a ‘SafeTALK’ training programme, provided by charity Community Links. It prepares people to identify someone with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

The SafeTALK course is free for anyone over 15 who lives or works in Leeds, and who wants to help prevent suicides. Lasting three hours, it is aimed at people in the local community who have no previous experience of working with people who are suicidal.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“Rates of suicide in Leeds are similar to national rates, but what we need to address is that certain groups of people are at higher risk of suicide. We know white middle-aged men, who don’t have jobs, live alone and have a history of relationship problems, substance use or self-harm and suicide attempts seem to be at highest risk.

“If we make it easier to talk about our mental health, then it will be easier to help people find appropriate help and support. As almost two thirds of the people who were identified in the audit had not made contact with mental health services, we know how important it is for people to talk about how they are feeling and seek support from organisations which can offer help. Leeds City Council is determined to help people at risk of suicide and I am sure SafeTALK can play a valuable role in this.”

Using information from local research, NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) arranged training for a number of GPs across west Leeds in specialised suicide intervention training to support those at risk of committing suicide. The training, provided by Community Links, aims to increase GPs’ awareness around identifying those at risk of suicide and to have the skills and confidence to intervene earlier.

Dr Jeanette Turley, Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disability for NHS Leeds West CCG, said:

“Suicide is a terrible waste of a life and it also has a devastating effect on the friends and families involved. We want people to understand that whatever the problems they are having to deal with, there is always an alternative way of escaping from their distress. We hope that by giving GPs the ability to spot warning signs, then those at risk can be identified earlier and given the support that they need.”

Leeds City Council’s Public Health team have already coordinated a range of activity to reduce suicide rates, including community development work with men in the high risk group within LS12, led by BARCA. The men reported that ‘having someone to talk to’ has often saved them from acting on their suicidal thoughts. In addition NHS Leeds West CCG has funded BARCA to provide more ‘Positive Communication’ sessions in West Leeds to help both men and women who are at risk of depression and suicide.

Barry*, who has used BARCA’s men’s group, said:

“If you don’t have someone to talk to – well it’s like walking around with a pocket full of dynamite – that could just go off at any time”

Neruka White, who runs Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen, said:

“I attended the SafeTALK training as I meet a lot of people who are at crisis point in my work. It has really helped me to build my confidence in recognising the signs of someone at risk of suicide and offering support. Anyone can help someone thinking about suicide and I would encourage others to take part in the training”

*not his real name

Notes for editors:

To book on the safeTALK suicide awareness training call Community Links on 0113 2739675 or email training@commlinks.co.uk

Find out about services available in Leeds at www.leedsmhdirectory.co.uk

Connect is a telephone helpline which provides emotional support and information for people in distress. Open 6pm-10:30pm every night of the year for people living in Leeds - 0808 800 12 12.

SafeTALK training provided by Community Links - http://www.commlinks.co.uk/Sites/Training/events/safeTALK10sept

Summary of findings from Audit of Suicides and Undetermined Deaths in Leeds 2008-2010:

• Audit derived rates for suicide for the Leeds population
− Are similar to those calculated by the Office of National Statistics
− Do not appear to be changing over time

• Of those taking their own life in Leeds:
- 79% were male
- 61% were from a white British background
- 57% were born in Leeds
- 47% were in the 30-50 age group

• Time and place:
- The highest number of recorded deaths was in the LS12 postcode, followed by LS11, LS14, LS15, LS8 and LS9 postcodes
- More suicides occur towards the end of the week

• Figures for risk factors are:
- 42% were unemployed or on long term sick leave
- 40% had relationship problems
- 76% were single, divorced or separated
- 37% were known to have either a drug or alcohol problem or both
- 43% had previously attempted suicide and 30% had self-harmed

• Methods:
- 60% died by hanging /strangulation
- 25% died by poisoning (with no one poison predominating)
- 75% died in their own home, with the next most common location of death being in a park or woodland

• Contact with services:
- 76% had contact with primary care in the three months prior to death
- 31% made their last contact with primary care for a mental health problem
- 17% had made contact with accident and emergency
- 37% were known to be in contact or previously had contact with mental health services

Issued by:
Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council
4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Tel: 0113 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736